Alexander Mackay-Smith

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"The collection was not brought together by writing big checks to leading dealers. On the contrary it represents days and weeks spent in the bookstalls and shops of London, Paris and Berlin, thumbing over dust-laden stacks of music and piles of books. It represents many hours of study, many hundreds of letters. It was never the sort of collection gathered just for exhibition purposes, but a working library..." 1

Alexander Mackay-Smith's "working library" today forms the nucleus of the University of Virginia's Music Library. The Mackay-Smith Collection, presented to the University in 1946, includes complete runs of what at that time constituted virtually all the major musicological journals, an impressive array of major reference works, bibliographies, printed library catalogues, monographs, and, above all, scores.

The collection's greatest strength is in contemporary editions of 18th-century instrumental music, particularly trio sonatas. An accomplished amateur violinist, Mackay-Smith acquired much of his chamber music for purely practical purposes. His chamber music partners included his brother, Carleton Sprague Smith, flutist and chief of the New York Public Library's Music Division from 1931 to 1943 and again from 1946 to 1959; Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, pianist, composer, and patroness of music; and Constance Darden, violinist and violist, wife of the University of Virginia's President, Colgate Darden.

The majority of the works represented in this catalogue were purchased in Paris and London between 1928 and 1934. After graduating from Harvard in 1924, Mackay-Smith spent several years in Europe: I bought my first early music from Harold Reeves in London in the summer of 1928 when I was able to acquire virtually all the 18th century editions, particularly of trio music, which he then had in stock, going back not only through his current but also through earlier catalogues, picking out numbers which remained unsold. It is almost a shame today to think of the prices at which such things were then available, one or two pounds apiece.2

Otto Haas, in Berlin and then later in London, was another source for much of the music described here. Following World War II, Mackay-Smith deposited his entire music collection with the University of Virginia Library: The University seemed like a logical place to deposit [it], since my children are descended from Thomas Jefferson; since, as you well know, Jefferson played the violin almost every day of his life...3 It is particularly fitting, I think, that the chamber music for violin which Thomas Jefferson so enjoyed playing should now be fully represented at the University which he founded.4

The Mackay-Smith Collection in fact shows similarity to the music section of Jefferson's own catalogue of 1783. It is scarcely coincidental that the trio sonatas of Carlo Antonio Campioni (1720-1788), one of Jefferson's favorite composers, are especially well represented. Jefferson had at one point taken the trouble to transcribe some 38 incipits of works by Campioni already in his library, with a note in the margin to a London dealer asking for any other works he had also composed, "Solos, Duets, or Trios. Printed copies would be preferred..." 5

It was in much the same systematic fashion that Alexander Mackay-Smith developed his own collection of instrumental chamber music, with special emphasis on the trio sonata. A lawyer by profession, Mackay-Smith might also confess, as had Jefferson, that "music is the favorite passion of my soul." 6 Jefferson, however, had been forced to concede that "fortune has cast my lot in a country where it is in a state of deplorable barbarism." That these circumstances no longer obtain is due in no small measure to the efforts of Alexander Mackay-Smith and other collectors like him.

The form of entry for each composer's name follows that in the Library of Congress authority file, where such an entry exists, or The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd ed. . In the case of composers whose works were first published during both the 18th and 19th centuries, only composers born before 1770 have been included. This is approximately the same criterion for inclusion in RISM Series A/I.

A brief filing title is provided to facilitate browsing and ensure a logical and consistent sequence among entries. The form is essentially that established by the second edition of the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules(Chicago: American Library Association, 1979) . A few minor exceptions have been adopted for the sake of both brevity and clarity.

Unless otherwise indicated, all individual parts within a set have identical title-pages. The format (folio, quarto, etc.) is based on the number of times the original sheets of paper have been folded to make individual leaves. 7 The terminology for the oblong formats is that suggested by D. W. Krummel. 8 Two sets of dimensions are given for all engraved title-pages: the first represents the imaginary rectangle that would enclose all elements of the engraved surface; the second measurement, in parentheses, represents the plate mark. The names of individual parts are transcribed exactly as they appear on the parts themselves, usually as running heads. The system used for describing pagination has been taken from Cecil Hopkinson's various bibliographies of Berlioz, Gluck, Puccini, etc., and is self-explanatory. No attemp has been made to collate gatherings. 9

The title of each work and its sequence of movements and keys are transcribed as they appear on the first part listed in the work's contents. Any exceptions to this, the primary source of information, are specifically noted in square brackets.

For dates, the terminology used is that recommended by the International Association of Music Libraries' Guide for Dating Early Published Music . 10 Whenever possible, dates of issue are provided; for lack of sufficient evidence, however, most dates in this catalogue must be considered dates of editions.

All citation to the Répertoire international des sources musicales, unless otherwise noted, are to Series A/I, Einzeldrucke vor 1801, edited by Karl-Heinz Schlager (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 1971-1981) . If the Mackay-Smith exemplar differs significantly from the entry appearing in RISM, discrepancies are noted in parentheses following the RISM number.

The dates that appear at the end of many of the call numbers derive from the original cataloguing of the collection at the University of Virginia in the late 1940s. Although an integral part of the call number, they have no significance in and of themselves.

1 Alexender Mackay-Smith to Stephen Tuttle, Professor of Music, 16 July 1948, Mackay-Smith papers, Alderman Library, University of Virginia. 2 Mackay-Smith to Jean Bonin, Music Librarian, 30 July 1974. 3 Ibid. 4 Mackay-Smith to Tuttle, 16 July 1948. 5 Both the music section of the 1783 catalogue and the Campioni incipits (undated) are reproduced and transcribed in Carolyn Galbraith Nolan's "Thomas Jefferson, Gentleman Musician" (M.A. thesis, University of Virginia, 1967). Nolan's transcriptions of the catalogue also appears in Helen Cripe's Thomas Jefferson and Music (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1974), pp. 97-104. 6 Thomas Jefferson to Giovanni Fabbroni, 8 June 1778, in The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, edited by Julian Boyden, v. 2 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1950), p. 196. 7 See Ronald B. McKerrow, An Introduction to Bibliography (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1927), pp. 164-174. 8D. W. Krummel, "Oblong Format in Early Music Books," The Library, 5th series, 26 (1971), pp. 312-324. 9 As Krummel has pointed out, the leaves of most engraved music after 1700 are gathered either singly or in twos ("Bibliography of Music," The New Grove, v. 2, p. 683) "and the important changes in text usually took place on the plates, making the assembly largely irrelevant for textual work." ("Musical Functions and Bibliographical Forms," The Library, 5th series, 31 [1976], p. 337). 10Compiled by D. W. Krummel(Hackensack, N.J.: Joseph Boonin, 1974).

From the guide to the Alexander Mackay-Smith Collection, 1689-1827, (University of Virginia. Small Special Collections Library)

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creatorOf Alexander Mackay-Smith Collection, 1689-1827 University of Virginia. Small Special Collections Library
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Relation Name
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